The Spice Kitchen Indian Restaurant in Bukit Indah, Johor Bahru

The Spice Kitchen in Bukit Indah is yet another excellent Indian Restaurant in Johor Bahru. I would eat here a great deal if I lived in Bukit Indah township in Johor Bahru.

Indian food lunch a the Spice Kitchen

The food is great and the interior is nice. It has the exposed ceilings with duct work showing that my brother loves and overall is just a nice feel.

photo of the interior of the Spice Kitchen Indian restaurant

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Wonderful Hiking in Bako National Park

Bako National Park offers a network of trails through jungles, scrub environments and to beautiful beaches. The post includes spur trails which I took as part of a loop off the Lintang Trail. I slept in Kuching, hiked during the day in Bako National Park and returned to my hotel at night.

On the Pandan Kencil Path

photo of view from plateau on Bako National Park Pandan Kencil path

Great views from a plateau. And the plateau also had large numbers of pitcher plants.

photo of pitcher plants

Then there is a short spur off the Pandan Kencil path to this wonderful beach overlook (Besar):

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Air Pollution Returns to Singapore and Johor

Bad air pollution levels have returned to Singapore and Johor in the last month. So far the recent air pollution problem has been moderate compared to June of 2013 (or Bejing). The readings have been in the “moderate” problem area but those are noticeable visually and when you are outside breathing the air is obviously more polluted than normal. I don’t usually use my air conditioning but I have the last week due to the air pollution.

The air pollution readings are published by Malaysia and Singapore. Air pollution will get a bit worse at night (assuming everything else stays the same) due to air pressure.

Air pollution has dramatic health consequences. The World Health Organization released a study last month stating that 7 million premature deaths annually are linked to air pollution.

Regionally, low- and middle-income countries in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012, with a total of 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths related to outdoor air pollution.

The damage done by air pollution to health include respiratory diseases such as asthma, cardiovascular diseases, changes in lung function. There is mounting evidence that exposure to air pollution has long-term effects on lung development in children.

With effect from 1 April 2014, Singapore has moved to an integrated air quality reporting index, where PM2.5 (particulate matter 2.5 micros or larger) will be incorporated into the current Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) as its sixth pollutant parameter. The PSI will therefore reflect a total of six pollutants – sulphur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM10) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3).

The 3-hour PSI will take into account PM2.5 concentrations. In addition, NEA will also publish the 1-hour PM2.5 concentrations every hour.

From the Malaysian site today (their update was dated September 2013)

DOE is in the midst of finalising the new Malaysian Air Quality Guidelines to include the standard limit of PM2.5 in the ambient air which based on World Health Organisation (WHO) 2006 Guidelines.

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Grandma’s House, Thai Restaurant in Permas Jaya

Grandma’s House is a nice little Thai restaurant in Permas Jaya (part of Johor Bahru).

photo of shrimp dish

Shrimp dish with iced tea

The food is good and inexpensive. A meal is about 9 to 15 MYR (US$5).

photo of old Fish Bowl TV

The interior decoration is the best part of of the place in my opinion. This is a real old TV turned into a fish bowl with live fish swimming around.

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Lintang Trail, Bako National Park, Sarawak, Borneo

Forest trail, Lintang trail

The Lintang Trail, Bako National Park, Sarawak, Borneo is 5.25 km but it offers several additional spur trails. I will post on the spur trails in a future post.

Steep climb on trail, Lintang trail

The trail has quite a bit of step climbs. Along with the spur trails I was quite exhausted when I completed the hike (which is not normal for me). It was fairly hot, combining that with probably a bit over 10 km (which is not normally any problem) and the step climbs got a bit tiring.

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Tandoori Mahal – Indian Restaurant in JB

Tandoori Mahal is another very good Indian Restaurant in downtown Johor Bahru. It is across the street from Village Briyani Cafe and Village Countryside Cuisine, next to Zen Zeng Hotel and a block from Danga City Mall.

photo of Paneer Tikka

This Panner Tikka was great. The paneer was much “richer” than any I had tasted before. I am actually not sure if this was intentional or not but I really liked it. I ordered it another time and it was still good but much more like the normal panner (cheese) I am used to.

Tandoori Mahal Indian Restaurant menu items written on the wall

A meal will cost around 15 – 30 MYR (US $5 – 10) depending on what you choose.

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Bako National Park, Sarawak, Borneo

Bako National Park is a wonderful location less than an hour outside of Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo. The park includes rustic cabins (for overnight stays) and a visitors center that serves food. To reach the park you must take a 20 minute boat ride.

view from boat dropoff for Bako National Park

When the boat dropped us off here in the morning they said they would pick us up on the beach. I couldn’t really understand why, but this photo shows the tide has made the path to the stairs impassable, which explains why (I should have figured that out but my brain doesn’t always work as well as it should).

photo of sign showing Bako National Park trails

I only spent a day in the park. There are several intersecting trails. The “small” loop trail includes the Lintang trail and intersects with Pandan Kecil path, Pandan Basar path and more. I hiked through several trails and completely exhausted myself, actually. It was a wonderful hike.

There are probably enough trails to keep you busy for 2 days of hiking though I think you can get a good feel for the different settings in 1 day.

photo looking back at Bako National Park from the boat as I leave

Looking back at Bako National Park from the boat as I leave (the visitor’s center is just off to the left).

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Red Tro Cafe, Galleria at Kotaraya in JB

The Red Tro Cafe is a small cafe outside the Galleria at Kotaraya which is in the CBD and old town JB.

photo of nasi goreng sotong (squid fried rice)

Nasi goreng sotong (squid fried rice)

The Nasi goring sotong was quite nice and the meal was under 10 MYR (I think) which is pretty typical (about US$3). The Red Tro Cafe is located right to the Old Chinese Temple, and across the street from the Sikh Temple.

photo of Red Top Cafe

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Johor Bahru Chingay Parade

The Chingay parade is held of the 21st day of the Chinese New year. In 2014 that will be February 20th.

Here are my photos from 2013 Chingay afternoon parade. The afternoon parade starts at 11 AM or so on the previous day – so on February 19th this year) as deity statues from the Old Chinese Temple are carried out to get ready for the evening parade.

Photo of kids playing gongs at the Chingay Parade in Johor Bahru

The biggest parade is the night parade but there is also a parade during the day. The evening parade covers 10 km and starts about 7 PM, I believe; it will finish after midnight.

photo of costume at Chingay Parade, Johor Bahru 2013

The Johor Bahru parade is also called The Parade of the Deities as the Temple deity statues are taken on a journey from the Temple to bless the city with peace, prosperity and harmony (the Chingay parades in Singapore and Penang are non-secular as I understand it).

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